Can Paris Saint-Germain get back on track? Are champions Lille in contention again? Could any top French sides face the drop?
Stats Perform aims to answer all of these questions and more as the new Ligue 1 season gets under way.
The Stats Perform League Prediction Model, created by Stats Perform AI using Opta data, has analysed the division ahead of the new season to assign percentages to potential outcomes for each club.
The model estimates the probability of each match outcome (win, draw or loss) based on teams’ attacking and defensive qualities, which considers four years’ worth of results, with weighting based on recency and the quality of opposition. The season is then simulated 10,000 times to calculate the likelihood of each outcome.
What does that mean for PSG and the rest of the French elite? Read on to find out…
POCH’S PSG TITLE FAVOURITES
It will surprise nobody, but PSG have been identified as the clear pre-season favourites. They are given a huge 79.5 per cent chance of reclaiming their title after falling behind Lille last term.
The signings of Sergio Ramos, Gianluigi Donnarumma, Achraf Hakimi and Georginio Wijnaldum should ensure PSG get back on track, while Mike Maignan, Boubakary Soumare and coach Christophe Galtier have all left Lille.
— Paris Saint-Germain (@PSG_English) August 5, 2021
The defending champions are still considered PSG’s most likely challengers, though.
Lille have a 12.4 per cent likelihood of retaining the championship, which puts them well clear of Lyon (5.7 per cent) in third. Monaco’s 2.4 per cent bid to repeat their 2016-17 success makes them the fourth and final side to be given any chance at all.
TOP FOUR SEEMS SET IN STONE
Four into three does not go, so at least one of the title contenders will miss out on the Champions League. They should all make the top four, though, with Europa League qualification guaranteed for fourth place.
PSG unsurprisingly look certain for one of the two automatic Champions League spots, rated at 94.9 per cent.
Lille are considered most likely to join them at 54.6 per cent, leaving Lyon to take third – the Champions League third qualifying round (35.2) per cent – and Monaco fourth – the Europa League group stage (40.0 per cent).
There are at least a clutch of rival clubs given a slim hope of crashing the Champions League party; Marseille (0.5 per cent), Rennes (0.2 per cent) and Montpellier (0.1 per cent) are all just about in the running for second place.
Ball at our feet. Time to do our thing.
— Olympique de Marseille (@OM_English) August 5, 2021
Interestingly, Nice – ninth last term but having recruited Galtier – are not given a significant chance of even making the Champions League qualifiers, whereas Lens (0.2 per cent), Nantes (0.1 per cent), Reims (0.1 per cent), Saint-Etienne (0.1 per cent) and Strasbourg (0.1 per cent) all come into consideration.
Every team in the league have at least a 0.1 per cent likelihood of finishing fifth – a Europa Conference League play-off round place – although PSG are joined by newly promoted pair Troyes and Clermont with the most remote chance.
BIG-NAME BORDEAUX IN BOTHER?
It figures that Troyes (38.8 per cent) and Clermont (34.5 per cent) are backed for relegation straight back down to Ligue 2, but some of last season’s top-flight sides are also at significant risk.
Brest are rated at a 26.4 per cent chance of relegation, with Angers at 19.0 per cent and Lorient at 15.0 per cent.
Most interestingly of all, though, Bordeaux are third-favourites for the drop behind the two promoted clubs.
The six-time champions won the title as recently as 2009 but have been in steady decline, even if a 12th-placed finish last time out saw them steer five points clear of the relegation play-off.
Indeed, Bordeaux were in the European picture in late January before an awful run and they will hope new coach Vladimir Petkovic can ensure there are no relegation worries in the coming campaign.
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